Wed, 03 Jun 2009 22:00:01International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum
NEWPORT, RI – The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum has announced that Fern Lee “Peachy” Kellmeyer, is the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Golden Achievement Award. The Golden Achievement Award is given jointly by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Federation and presented annually on a worldwide basis to individuals who have made important contributions internationally to tennis in the fields of administration, promotion or education, and have devoted long and outstanding service to the sport.
Presentation of this year’s Golden Achievement Award will be made Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at the ITF Champions Dinner at the Pavillon d’Armenonville in Paris, France in conjunction with Roland Garros (May 24-June 7). Presentation of the Golden Achievement Award will be made by Sir James Harvie-Watt, International Tennis Hall of Fame Executive Committee Member, and Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Also in attendance will be the past two Golden Achievement Award recipients, Juan Maria Tintore (2008) and Nancy Jeffett (2007).
Peachy Kellmeyer has made a tremendous contribution to the sport of tennis during her lifetime as a player, coach, Sony Ericsson WTA Tour executive and tireless pioneer for women’s rights in the sport. She has dedicated her life’s work to the sport of tennis, and has been an influential figure in women’s professional tennis for more than three decades. She has been instrumental in building the Tour into the global circuit and internationally popular sport that it is today, and has not only led the Tour’s operations, player and tournament relations, but also been at the center of all major Tour and Board policy decisions for the past 35 years.
Kellmeyer has been a senior executive with the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour since 1973, most recently serving as Senior Vice President of Tour Operations overseeing player commitments, the Tour calendar, overall Tour operations and a $3.5 million bonus pool. Kellmeyer officially retired at the end of 2008 however she continues working with the WTA as Tour Operations Executive Consultant.
Kellmeyer has been a key member in the leadership of women’s professional tennis since taking over as Executive Director of the Virginia Slims circuit in the mid-1970s, and has been part of the WTA Board of Directors in various capacities. It was during her tenure that women’s tennis exploded in popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, when prize money, attendance, and worldwide exposure for the game skyrocketed. She played a pivotal role in the Tour’s successful and historic effort to achieve equal prize money; having brought the first women’s tennis event to Madison Square Garden; and in the development of the Tour’s new Roadmap circuit structure that will result in a shortened and streamlined Tour calendar featuring bigger events with more stars and rivalries beginning in 2009.
Another of Kellmeyer’s great achievements came while she was the Physical Education Director at Marymount College in Boca Raton, FL. In the fight for athletic scholarships for women, Kellmeyer spearheaded a lawsuit that ultimately led to the dismantling of the rule that prohibited athletic scholarships for female athletes at colleges across the nation. This landmark case paved the way for the historic creation of Title IX, and contributed greatly to the influx of female athletes in intercollegiate athletics in the United States.
Kellmeyer is a native of Charleston, West Virginia and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of Miami. She also has a Master’s degree in Education from Florida Atlantic University. She currently resides in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Past recipients of the Golden Achievement Award are: Brian Tobin of Australia (1999); Gil de Kermadec of France (2000); Pablo Llorens Reñaga of Spain (2001); Enrique Morea of Argentina (2002); J. Howard “Bumpy” Frazer of the United States (2003); John Curry of Great Britain (2004); Eiichi Kawatei of Japan (2005); James R. Cochrane of Great Britain (2006); Nancy P. Jeffett of the United States (2007); and Juan Maria Tintore of Spain (2008).